Five men have been sentenced to death and three others jailed for 24 years, over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October last year. Saudi Arabia, which had promised a full investigation into the incident, announced its initial findings on Monday.
Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor Shalaan al-Shalaan said that two top Saudi royal advisors, Ahmed Al Assiri and Saud Al Qahtani, have not been charged and are released as investigation showed that the two men had no prior intention of killing Khashoggi.
Khashoggi was a U.S. resident and critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto ruler. He was last seen at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, 2018, where he was to receive papers ahead of his wedding. His body was reportedly dismembered and removed from the building, and his remains have not been found.
The killing caused a global uproar, tarnishing the crown prince’s image. The CIA and some Western governments have said they believe Prince Mohammed ordered the killing, but Saudi officials say he had no role. Eleven Saudi suspects were put on trial over his death in secretive proceedings in Riyadh.
No other details were immediately given about the ruling in the highly secretive trial, which began in January. The identities of the men are unknown and UN investigators have been repeatedly barred from hearings, although a handful of diplomats, including from Turkey, as well as members of Khashoggi’s family, were allowed to attend the sessions.
(Sources: Reuters, The Guardian, The National)